On the Issue of Public Reaction to Archaeological Discoveries
The article examines the issue of negative attitude of the local population to archaeological excavation, its methods and results. Particular attention is paid to the history and causes of the Altai community protest against excavations of the “Altai Princess” mummy and against keeping the remains in a scientific institution with the purpose of studying. The author analyzes principles of optimizing relations between the local population and archaeologists discussed by researchers. According to the V. A. Korenyako, adoption of a professional archaeologist code prescribing respect for the cultural traditions of local people may help avoid discontent of indigenous population. The authors of the collective article (G. Pletz, V. I. Soyonov, N. A. Konstantinov and E. Robinson) believe that the relations between archaeologists and the local population should be based on anthropological approach, the very process of scientific archaeological research must be adapted to the realities of aboriginal life, and the practice of repatriation of archaeological objects, including reburial of ancient remains, should be qualified as an act of recognition of indigenous people right to their cultural heritage. A. G. Kozintsev raises the question of dangers of a unilateral solution to the repatriation problem proceeding only from the interests of aboriginal people as a result the process of scientific knowledge can be damaged irreparably. The author of this article makes a suggestion about the need to conduct anthropological research not only in mental phenomena, which causes rejection of archaeological work by indigenous population, but also in both positive and negative experience of conflict resolution by archaeologists. Such a study will not only identify mistakes and constructive actions of archaeologists, but will also contribute to the development of practical recommendations for them to prevent or resolve such situations.